Sheriff Using Senior Citizens To Fight Crime - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheriff Using Senior Citizens To Fight Crime

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – If your house is burglarized or your stolen car is recovered, do not be surprised if the Spokane County Sheriff's Office sends it's newest resource to solve your crime:  an 80-year-old grandmother or a retired 70-year-old.

The sheriff's office has been training volunteers from the S.C.O.P.E. (Sheriff Community Oriented Policing Effort) program to find and process fingerprints on potential evidence.  Many of the volunteers are retired senior citizens who pledge their time to stay active.

Victims who call Crime Check will be offered the opportunity to have a volunteer come to their home and search for fingerprints, according to Deputy Travis Pendell.

Deputy Pendell says without this program, his office would take a police report but not have the resources to investigate some smaller crimes and break-ins because of the economy.

"I've seen the role budget cuts have had on the community," said Todd Callihan, Team Leader of the program who volunteers himself.  "There are less deputies on the street these days."

Callihan has been a volunteer with the sheriff's office for 2 years.  He trains new volunteers on how to process fingerprints and works with Deputy Pendell to run the program.

"You can't sit on the street and complain on the sidelines without doing your part to help your community," he said.

Recovered fingerprints are treated as evidence and processed through Spokane County's forensics unit.  The prints are run through a computer database to search for possible suspects.

"This gives detectives one more tool to investigate a case," said Pendell. 

Pendell noted the volunteers agree to be on-call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during weekdays.  Calls for service taken outside those hours can usually be processed the following day.

"You can usually get fingerprints up to five days later," he said.

The volunteers work in teams of at least one other member when going to someone's house.

 Anyone interested in joining the program can call the S.C.O.P.E. office at (509) 477-4717.

*This web story was filed by Anthony Gomes.

 

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